Lack of consultation favours dubious legislation

The Liberal Government of Canada’s most frequent and ardent declaration to Canadians is that it consults widely with a wide range of citizens, from coast to coast, before introducing legislation.

Yet virtually every day, news media coverage makes it evident that most Canadians don’t seem to feel they are being sufficiently consulted. Personally I watch my phone like a hawk and avoid unknown numbers that could potentially be someone wanting to consult with me on behalf of the government.

Evidence is easy to find, just in minutes today – CBC: Some industry groups say Health Canada’s plans to encourage Canadians to eat healthier food goes too far, and could lead to warning labels on food that’s good for you, such as some milk, and cheese.

And they argue federal proposals may cost them almost $2 billion.

Health Canada is in the middle of public consultations as it revamps the Canada Food Guide, considers a ban on advertising and marketing junk food to kids and teens, and looks to add front-of-package symbols warning consumers about foods that are high in salt, sugar or saturated fat.

Macleans Magazine: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau can’t have been expecting serious opposition to his announcement that arguably the most prized piece of vacant real estate in Canada—the former U.S. embassy building directly across from the Parliament Buildings—will be turned into an Indigenous center.

But opposition is what he’s getting, at least from the Indigenous Task Force of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada.

Made up mainly of Indigenous architects, architecture students and academics, the task force says the empty beaux-arts beauty at 100 Wellington Street is all wrong as a showcase for First Nations, Métis and Inuit culture.

Globe & Mail: “An Ottawa-based think tank, with ties to corporate Canada and the federal government, is spearheading a campaign to persuade Canadians to embrace a free-trade deal with China. As Canada’s negotiators ready for a third round of exploratory trade talks with China, the Public Policy Forum (PPF) is embarking on a two-year effort, bankrolled by major corporations, to change Canadians’ minds about bilateral trade with the world’s second-biggest economy.

Public-opinion surveys, conducted in April by Nanos Research for the Globe and Mail, found nearly nine in 10 Canadians are ‘uncomfortable’ with the idea of China’s large, government-controlled businesses gaining more access to Canada’s economy – an almost inevitable aspect of any free-trade deal.

The poll also found that 66 per cent of respondents want Ottawa to link human rights to trade talks.

That’s three areas quickly – with quotes. Consultation and communication does not seem to be working well for the Trudeau government.

There are many more – it is daily.

Is it different from the division of the last number of years with PM Stephen Harper? Probably not significantly so – but the government seems to be making more decisions said to be based on consultation but contrasting with the Liberals’ campaign pledges a more open, accountable government.

Trudeau election promises seem to be faltering on numerous fronts.

Huffington Post: “The House of Commons has passed legislation giving Remembrance Day the same legal status as Canada Day and Victoria Day.

It is mainly a symbolic move, as the Commons can’t make November 11 a statutory holiday across the country, because that is a matter for the provinces.

Currently, Remembrance Day is a holiday in all provinces and territories except for Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador.

Federal employees also get the day off.

This looks like a big split and probably not fixable by consultation. It’s not a holiday for almost all of eastern Canada.

So about half of the country can still be persuaded that November 11 is worthy as a national holiday…

And tomorrow is another day…By the time this hits the doorsteps, however, six more days will have passed and the only good news is that while I was cobbling this column together, MP’s were watching the clock, itching to get home for the summer.

Things will likely be a little less contentious federally now the session has ended.

But we in B.C. can get back to the barney in Victoria between the Liberals and the Opposition NDP and Green Party.

They are in the process of starting a new legislative session – by the time this arrives, the Liberals could be the opposition.

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